8 - The Distant Framework of War  pp. 168-194

The Distant Framework of War

By Williamson Murray

Image View Previous Chapter Next Chapter



In August 1914, a catastrophic war exploded on a European Continent, a continent that at the time seemed far removed from the travails of war, slaughter, and rapine that had marked earlier centuries. The ensuing conflict represented a watershed in European history, largely determining the erratic and murderous course of the twentieth century. While there had been a number of conflicts on the Continent in the 99 years between 1815 and 1914, none had come close to the violence, length, and destruction that the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars had caused. Nor had any of those wars approached the violence and ferocity of what was to come in the Great War.

Yet, the First World War did not represent a new phenomena in European history. In his classic On War, Carl von Clausewitz had accurately described the French Revolution's impact on Europe in the following terms:

[B]ut in 1793 a force appeared and beggared all imagination. Suddenly war again became the business of the people – a people of thirty millions, all of whom considered themselves to be citizens.…The people became a participant in war; instead of governments and armies as heretofore, the full weight of the nation was thrown into the balance. The resources and efforts now available for use surpassed all conventional limits; nothing now impeded the vigor with which war could be waged, and consequently the opponents of France faced the utmost peril.

War, untrammeled by any conventional restraints, had broken loose in all its elemental fury. This was due to the peoples’ new share in the great affairs of state; and their participation in turn, resulted partly from the impact that the revolution had on the internal conditions of every state and partly from the danger that France posed to everyone.

A.J.P. TaylorsThe Struggle for Mastery in Europe, 1848–1918Oxford1954
Adrian Keith GoldsworthyThe Roman Army at War, 100 BC – AD 200Oxford1995
Alfred Thayer MahanThe Influence of Sea Power upon the French Revolution and Empire, 1793–1812Boston1894118
Andrew D. LambertThe Crimean War, British Grand Strategy against Russia, 1853–1856Manchester1990
Archives parlementaires de 1789 á 1860, première sérieParis1907674
Arthur HermanTo Rule the Waves, How the British Navy Shaped the Modern WorldNew York2004
Charles Edward WhiteThe Enlightened Soldier – Scharnhorst and the Militärische Gesellschaft in Berlin, 1801–1805New York1989
Christopher HibbertThe Destruction of Lord RaglandLondon1963
Clifford J. RogersThe Military Revolution Debate, Readings on the Military Transformation in Early Modern EuropeBoulder, CO1995
David ChandlerMarlborough as Military CommanderLondon1973
David ChandlersThe Campaigns of NapoleonNew York1966
Dennis E. SchowalterRailroads and Rifles: Soldiers, Technology, and the Unification of GermanyHamden, CT1975
Erich EyckBismarck and the German EmpireNew York1960
Felix GilbertMakers of Modern StrategyOxford1986
Fred AndersonsCrucible of War, The War for Empire in North America, 1756–1765New York2003
Geoffrey ParkerThe Military Revolution: Military Innovation and the Rise of the West, 1500–1800Cambridge1988
Geoffrey WarrowsThe Franco-Prussian War, TheGerman Conquest of France in 1870–1871Cambridge2003
Geoffrey WawroThe Austro-Prussian War, Austria's War with Prussia and ItalyCambridge1997
Georg WinterDie Reorganisation des Preussischen Staates unter Stein und Hardenberg19311
Graham WebsterThe Roman Imperial Army of the First and Second Centuries A.DLondon1969
Holger HerwigThe First World War, Germany and Austria, 1914–1918London1997Cambridge1918
Isabel V. HullAbsolute Destruction, Military Culture and the Practices of War in Imperial GermanyIthaca, NY2005
Jay LuvaasThe Education of an Army: British Military Thought, 1815–1940London1965
John Lawrence ToneThe Fatal Knot, The Guerrilla War in Navarre and the Defeat of Napoleon in SpainChapel Hill1994
John LynnGiant of the Grand Siècle, The French Army, 1610–1715Cambridge1997
Julian S. CorbettsEngland in the Seven Years’ War21907
Luigi AlbertiniThe Origins of the War of 1914New York1952
MacGregor KnoxCommon Destiny: Dictatorship, Foreign Policy, and War in Fascist Italy and Nazi GermanyCambridge2000
MacGregor KnoxThe Mainstream of CivilizationNew York198989
Martin SamuelsCommand or Control? Command, Training and Tactics in the British and German Armies, 1888–1918London1995
Otto von BismarckBismarck: Die gesammelten Werke192810140
Sir Michael HowardThe Franco-Prussian WarLondon1961
Stanley ChadorowMacGregor KnoxConrad SchirokauerThe Mainstream of CivilizationNew York1989685
William H. McNeillThe Pursuit of PowerChicago1982
Williamson MurrayMacGregor KnoxThinking about Revolutions in Warfare,The Dynamics of Military Revolution, 1300–2050MacGregor KnoxWilliamson MurrayCambridge2002
Williamson MurrayRichard Hart SinnreichThe Past as Prologue, The Importance of History to the Military ProfessionCambridge2006
Williamson MurrayThe Change in the European Balance of Power, 1938–1939, The Path to RuinPrinceton1984358
Winston S. ChurchillMarlborough, His Life and TimesLondon1933
Winston S. ChurchillThe World CrisisToronto19313